Mobile Future

Snap & Speak

The release of apps and services that aid Americans with disabilities shows no sign of abating and the release of ZoomReader, a new app that reads aloud any text, should have those with visual impairments particularly rejoicing.  The app uses the iPhone or iPod touch’s camera to take a picture of text- including nutrition labels, menus, books and e-mails- and converts the image into text which the app reads aloud. Also, the app highlights and magnifies the converted text on the iPhone’s screen as it reads the text aloud so those with low vision can easily follow along.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal:

“Doug Hacker, vice president of business development for the Vermont-based Ai Squared, said it decided to develop the app because of the enormous popularity of the iPhone in the visually impaired community. According to a survey the company conducted, it believes roughly a third of its current 150,000 to 170,000 customers own an iPhone and the majority of the rest want one. “The community tends to be behind the curve as far as technology is concerned, but because of VoiceOver, almost every blind person is buying it,” said Mr. Hacker, adding that it expects a “burgeoning marketplace.”

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